Best Home Insurance Companies 2018

We’ve ranked the top home insurance companies in the UK based on the quality of cover and independent reviews that take into account customer satisfaction and complaints handling.

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The best home insurance

We have negotiated exclusive deals with a number of quality home insurers, find out more here.

Hiscox and the best of the rest

In a recent update to our list of the best home insurers, Hiscox and a handful of other well-known companies such as Nationwideand More Than dropped out of the top 10.

Hiscox specialises in high-value properties and contents, and it has not been included in our new list because it did not receive a score in Which’s latest ranking of home insurers. Which uses customer surveys and if there are not enough responses for a company they cannot be given a score.

Hiscox has been awarded high scores from other review services. It provides a high level of cover and has received awards for its customer service.

More Than also offers comprehensive policies and only missed out on a place in our top 10 by a few points.

Read on to learn about:

Our home insurance offers

Bought By Many is making insurance fairer by using the group buying power of our members to negotiate exclusive deals with insurers.

Members can get a free Amazon Dot with Neos. A new home insurer that provides customers with a smart tech bundle to protect their home.

Anyone over 50 can get a £60 voucher with our home and contents group for over 50s.

There is an exclusive cashback deal with HomeProtect for people in flood-risk areas and those with specialist home policies.

We also have a deal on home insurance for cyclists. Find out more about all our home insurance offers here.

The best home insurance companies

Why these are the best home insurance companies

The home insurance companies on our top 10 list all have high levels of buildings and contents insurance cover and many have received recommendations or awards from trusted organisations such as Which and YouGov.

John Lewis’s Premier policy has unlimited buildings and contents cover, and includes a total valuables limit of £40,000 – a feature some insurers offer as an add-on.

It has been recommended by Which and has a Fairer Finance score of 65% (one of the highest ratings), which takes into account factors such as customer happiness and complaints handling.

To come up with our list we used independent research into the quality of the cover and customer service home insurance providers offer.

First, we used an impartial financial services rating service that looks at the level of cover provided by insurers. All of the policies in our list have five out of five stars, which means they offer “an excellent product with a comprehensive range of features and benefits”. Note that John Lewis’s Plus policy has 5 stars for its contents cover and 4 for its buildings cover.

Then we consulted the in-depth reviews written by Which?.

Finally, we looked at the percentage scores awarded by Fairer Finance and any awards the company has won. Fairer Finance rates companies for customer happiness, complaints handling, trust and transparency.

Our top 10 reflects the best-performing companies from each of those sources. It does not include specialist home insurance policies, but there’s information on specialist cover further down this piece.

What makes a good Home Insurance policy?

There are three main types of home insurance – buildings, contents, and buildings and contents combined.

If you live in a rented house or flat you don’t need to worry about buildings insurance. It is your landlord’s job to sort that out (you might want to make sure they have!). Contents insurance, however, is your responsibility. Owner-occupiers are likely to need both buildings and contents insurance. Click on the link to jump to the section on making sure you’re getting the right level of cover.

You can judge a policy by the amount it pays out for the core features of buildings and contents cover, how quickly companies pay out, how easy the claims process is and how much cover you’re getting for things like valuables, accidental damage or bike cover.

The best home insurance policies also include alternative accommodation for you and the inhabitants of your home if it needs to be rebuilt. But it can vary widely from company to company.

John Lewis Finance Premier offers unlimited alternative accommodation, whicle Direct Line offers up to £40,000 of cover.

Both Direct Line and John Lewis Finance include pets in their alternative accommodation cover.

With contents insurance, it’s easy to set the level of cover to the value of your possessions, but it’s important to know how the content of your home is defined and what part of the policy covers it.

Some companies limit the value of any single item you insure (for example, items worth over £2,000 might need to be declared separately).

These items are classed as valuables and there can be separate limits for individual items and the total amount of valuables you own.

Here are the contents limits for the top company:

Age UK Home Insurance 

Contents: up to £100,000; valuables: up to £50,000.

John Lewis Finance Premier 

They offers unlimited cover for contents and up to £40,000 for valuables.

Hiscox and John Lewis Finance’s Premier policy offer cover for personal possessions, which includes items such as mobile phones and jewellery, away from your home. Other policies, such as M&S’s, offer it as an optional extra.

Bikes are often treated as separate entities in relation to home insurance. In fact, we have looked at the best home insurance for pedal bikes separately because there can be a lot to consider if protecting your bike is a priority.

Comprehensive policies will also provide some level of accidental damage cover for anything you might break or damage in your home. Cover levels vary but the best policies have no limit on claims.

They may also include home emergency policies, where they will send someone out to fix urgent problems such as a leak or broken boiler. This is a valuable part of home insurance and it’s worth considering, even if it’s an optional extra. Find out how to get one of the best home emergency policies for free.

Other than policy features, some companies aim to attract customers with special offers such as cashback, vouchers and discounts. While it’s not a good idea to choose a policy based on this alone if you’re torn between two insurers with similar, quality products it can help tip the scales.

It important to know exactly what is covered by your policy and to choose the most suitable cover for your home. That might not be the most expensive cover but it doesn’t mean you should go straight for the cheapest.

What does house insurance cost?

  • According to ABI’s last update in May 2017, the average house insurance premium paid by UK customers for combined buildings & contents insurance is £297 per year, suggesting the cost may be falling as it was £309 in 2016. (source: ABI)
  • For buildings insurance only, the average cost is £263 per year
  • Contents insurance only costs £135 per year on average
  • But you might pay more or less than that depending on a number of factors that influence the cost such as the size of your home and where you live.

For more information check out our longer guide to the cost of home insurance.

The best contents insurance

We looked at the providers in our top 10 home insurance list to see which companies offer the best individual contents policies. Find out which came top in our guide to the best contents insurance.

Pros and cons of home insurance comparison sites

With the rise in popularity of comparison sites, many people simply look for the cheapest price when choosing a home insurance company, believing it to be the best deal. However, that is often not the case.

Comparison sites, such as Confused.com and Go Compare have their advantages. They make home insurance reviews much more accessible and transparent. They also encourage competition between insurance companies, which in turn pushes premiums down.

However, this competition has led to some insurance companies creating cheap policies that place them at the top of the comparison sites’ price-based lists, but don’t offer sufficient cover for many customers’ needs.

What’s more, some of the best-known insurance companies, such as Aviva Home Insurance and Direct Line Home Insurance, are not on comparison sites as a matter of principle.

How to get the right level of home insurance cover

With buildings insurance, you need to insure your house for the amount it will cost to rebuild, which is likely to be different to its market value. It can be less than you expect because the market value of the property is often much higher than the cost of the construction.

You can use the free calculator provided by the independent Building Cost Information Service (BCIS) to work out the rough rebuild cost of your home.

For contents insurance, it is important not to under-insure; that is to buy a policy that’s cover is lower than the value of your possessions. Many people simply under-estimate the value of everything. They’ve built up over the years while others forget that some items, like inherited jewellery or collections, can increase in value.

To be safe, go through your house room by room, round everything up and don’t forget about smaller items, such as clothes and toiletries. They may not be worth much individually but if the worst happens and you have to replace everything in your house. You will be surprised how quickly it adds up.

It is possible to get separate, dedicated policies for high-risk, high-value items such as gadgetswatches and engagement rings.

So it worth comparing the cost, particularly since your home insurance no claims bonus would be unaffected. If you claim on a different policy for a high-value item.

Empty homes – even if only temporarily empty – may not be covered by standard home insurance policies. Typically, if your home is left unoccupied for more than 30 days it may invalidate your policy. You can get a separate policy for unoccupied properties or holiday homes, but either way, be sure to tell your insurance company.

if no one will be living in your house for more than 30 days.

Specialist home insurance companies

We excluded a number of companies because their cover is restricted to or targeted at specific sections of the population. For example, NFU Mutual caters almost exclusively to homes in rural areas.

We have negotiated an exclusive cashback deal with specialist provider HomeProtect for people in flood-risk areas and those with specialist home policies.

Find out more about home insurance in flood areas and how Flood Re is helping, and what to do if you’re refused a home quote because of your home or personal circumstances.

Another specialist insurance company we looked at but did not include in the list of the best home insurance companies is Sterling Insurance, which now known as Covea.

Covea offers exceptionally high levels of cover for expensive and non-standard home contents, such as cycling gear, horse-riding tack, golf clubs and equipment, collections, and jewellery.

Like Age UK and Saga, Sterling also provides home insurance policies for the over 50s, as well as covering homes of ‘non-standard’ construction and listed buildings.

You can also get a quote from specialist insurers like CoverBuilder.

Best home insurance for flood risk areas

The government’s Flood Re scheme has encouraged companies to offer more competitive premiums for homes in flood-risk locations.

See our article on Flood Re for a guide to the best providers for flood-risk homes.

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